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Trisha Lunsford spends a great deal of her time encouraging adolescents to strive for excellence, and the Associated Colleges of Illinois rewarded her selfless service in a big way.

ACI picked Lunsford as the sole recipient of the Carole B. Whitcomb Endowed Scholarship award worth $3500. More than 70 juniors and seniors throughout the state applied for the grant, each of whom has a grade-point average of at least 3.0 and is planning a career in the non-profit sector.

"I want to find the best way to impact young people positively," Lunsford, a senior from Orland Hills, Illinois, said. "Our society calls for leaders to communicate with them effectively in creative ways. This is how I want to make a difference, and my education plays a big part in doing that."

Her career goal is to establish a youth center for troubled children and teens. Prior to that, the communication arts major plans to pursue a master's degree in social work. She has taken two missions trips to Mexico and also journeyed to Guatemala with Hearts In Motion, a non-denominational organization based in Merrillville, Indiana, that focuses on the needs of impoverished children and families.

"I enjoy serving people in need. I've spent a lot of my time volunteering, and that service motivates me and brings me fulfillment."

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